(click on photos to enlarge)
After the first session of THAT’S AMORE, my couples retreat, we made an expedition to nearby Cortona, stopping along the way to visit Celle, the monastic community originally founded by St. Francis of Assisi.
This is the tiny cell where St. Francis lived, prayed, and slept overlooking the waterfall (“torrent”).
As you can see, the landscape is gorgeous.
And it continues to be a thriving community of monks.
Cortona is like a pocket-sized version of Siena. The day we visited, the central piazza buzzed with the annual crossbow competition.
Each of the five quarters of Cortona sends two teams (a shooter and an assistant) to the competition.
Afterwards, the winner (the young man at the right) leads a parade through town, while the lad at the center carries his trophy, a silver dagger, on a pillow.
The costumes and the faces were amazing.
My dudes were looking pretty sharp themselves — Chris, Terry Wayne, Jay, and John.
By chance, we’d arranged to meet the folks at Dal Brenna, who crafted the trophy for the crossbow competition.
The company has a tiny storefront on the street and also a cantina deep in the bowels of a former private home.
The friendly proprietors served us prosecco with gold dust sprinkled into it and showed us their ancient olive oil press (above), cheese cellar, and wine-stomping vat. The acoustics of the place were so amazing that Michelino took it upon himself to offer a song (see below).